A Week on the Mullica River
Fall in the New Jersey Barrens is special. The leaves on the deciduous trees that grow among the pines turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow making the Pine Barrens look like it is gift wrapped. This year Fall came a little early and didn’t stick around very long. There were signs of it in the swamps in early September as shown by the photograph on the right. It wasn’t until the middle of October that the peak colors happened. I spent that time along the Mullica River, one of several small rivers in the Pine Barrens, where it runs through a more remote area. The following photographs are the result of my week on the Mullica.
It’s all about savannas
Just as the leaves started to change, I took a hike to explore a few locations in the savannas along the Mullica River. Savannas are open grassy areas. Although they look like dry meadows, the water is usually ankle deep or more. There are no trails to the savannas so you have to bushwhack your way into them. Due to the unpredictable conditions of a hike like this, I used my wife’s compact Olympus mirrorless camera to save weight and space in the backpack. The partly cloudy sky created some interesting plays of light.
The Fall colors on the Mullica River are always a treat. On a couple of mornings there was mist in the air providing an extra bonus. The mist can make the river landscape look very surreal.
Other Fall Photographs
Although every day didn’t have mist, every day was an adventure. Knowing where the savannas are doesn’t mean you know what you will see when you work your way into them. Low water levels can reveal clutter in the river and turn a pretty savanna into tangled mess. High water levels can make an area that was passable previously impossible to get to.
While any time is a good time to photograph the New Jersey Pine Barrens, fall is always special. As I wrote in the opening paragraph, fall is like gift wrapping the Pines.